… third verse, not different from the first two!

Punk Rock Hamburg with their own “Third verse, different from the first” rather – twice delayed due to Covid. By design another evening fully local (bands and audience alike) and off the beaten track (both location down south, over the mighty river Elbe, and spread of mu-sick-al styles).

5 Bands, early start and luckily only a fast train ride south with easiest access to the location: The Stellwerk (in English Signal Box) is an unused space in the Hamburg Harburg Central Station (warning, sarcasm incoming) – a former Signal Box given up when switches and signals where electrified.

In the spacious main room the Punk Rock Hamburg family setup stage, merch and was ready for a sold-out fun evening.

Punk Rock Hamburg Family Merch Booth

The hardship of being first came down to Nixda!, who had to embark with one member being off sick. In my head i had little bad boy saying “lucky“, as the missing member was the girl who normally operates the flute (and rather strange instrument in on single-minded mu-sick-al horizon).

Nixda! (Stellwerk, Hamburg, 04.02.2023 (c) gehkacken.de 2023)

Thanks to Dennis on the front they had stage presence but taking all in it was not really up my alley: They do have excellent German lyrics, some even on the clever side but their music is at bad time rather Deutsch Rock to me, at good time Deutsch Punk. But they put everything in and thus had their share of applause.

What came next though was a welcome contrast: Punk Du Arsch! are local heroes with loud (and indeed loudmouth), intolerant and exhausting Asi-Punk paired with a real showman up front.

Punk Du Arsch! (Stellwerk, Hamburg, 04.02.2023 (c) gehkacken.de 2023)

They pick’n’choose from a wide variety of styles – a bit of Glam here, a bit of old Sparrer there but always fast paced and forward driving. And most of the times the lyrics aim to confront the listener or tell a tale – like this one:

And in Englisch it sounds even more hilarious: It is an ode to an unnamed Returnable Bottles Collector Of Love. Lovely stuff! They had more people in front of the stage and they had more applause – well deserved.

Next Fat Flag, a band that i never ever noted before. They already won me over when they changed on stage into stage uniform: One of the principals i stick to is that bands need to dress for the occasion and that this dressing should be orchestrated. Well done lads, you had my attention from the start.

Fat Flag (Stellwerk, Hamburg, 04.02.2023 (c) gehkacken.de 2023)

Mu-sick-aly they took the audience down a more modern, more US like route with loads of breaks, speed changes and paired with German lyrics – sometimes on the clever side. And on the funny side, specifically for me mate Frosch, they had a song about spawn and pong. Very Froggy!

They where fun, they had humor and emitted that from stage And their sound actually did please my ear. I really wonder how i missed them, they seem to be around for a while. My biggest surprise that night and one of the reasons why it is worth to take such a local thingy in.

Next Norden, back from the ashes of Norden. Their start though was hampered with sound issues, not so much in front of the stage but more for Natascha on the stage. More than once she threw up her hands in frustration though whilst still trying to plow on.

Whilst she was frustrated with the sound i was frustrated with the light, it was washed up in blue with some little red thrown over, it neither looked nice in real nor anyway good on the few pics i took. Not sure if it was desired by the band, if so – just pitch dark would have worked too.

Norden (Stellwerk, Hamburg, 04.02.2023 (c) gehkacken.de 2023)

With Norden the sound was moving yet again into a different direction, to the bone song structures driven forward by Jan’s excellent guitar play and the rhythm section. And on top almost storytelling by Jan with again to the bone German lyrics.

I do like what they do, specifically as it is definitely off the beaten Punk track. That said, somehow i felt that appeal was not commonly shared – i guess only a subset of the audience actually did dig them.

Late (against the running order) came the headliner and this is how they kicked off:

Bang! Different style, different speed, different presentation. The Haermorrhoids just had a blast at the Puke Fest in Münster and following the account of those present simply blew the roof of the house.

The Haermorrhoids (Stellwerk, Hamburg, 04.02.2023 (c) gehkacken.de 2023)

Back home they continued in that vein, though the audience never went fully ape shit like in Münster (no flying bodies anywhere) – it was the stereotypical reserved reaction. That said, the floor was full and people where moving and enjoying it.

Their set was sharp, delivered almost without break (to make up lost time vs. the running order) and at break neck speed. As always they finished their set with my very own favorite Overdose:

Following that stage time was up but they did not give too much shit about it – speeding up even more they bashed out three more perfect Ramonescore blasts!

They had plenty of cheers, loads of applause – though that all turned into a bit of a sad moment after the show when i got to know that their bass player is no longer able to play for them. I do hope that quickly they can get someone fitting in place as currently they are a very well oiled machine at an outstanding level of performance!

And that finished off Punk Rock Hamburg Fest #3, way after midnight. The train ride home was pleasant when it came to companions but really strange when it came to locals from down south doing a Saturday night trip towards the Reeperbahn. Strange people, strange behaviors.

I guess the 3rd sold out Punk Rock Hamburg Fest was a solid success, though i have to admit that i hated the amount of smoking going on. When i finally woke up Sunday to get ready to enjoy a home win (and a home win was delivered) i had severe throat issues and felt hungover (though i only had a single beer) – all down to the smoke. If i could have a plea – non-smoking please.

I know that won’t deter the good people at #entstationpunk and #punkrockhamburg (who are to be thanked for this local festival, year on year) so here is the link for the early bid tickets for 2024. Be there or be square!

Klick! Me! for Early Bird Tickets!

… welcome back, Norden!

Now this has been long in the making, both the show and the new (almost historic) 2nd Album from Norden. The record should have been out for a while but following a first test press early this year the sound was not up to the quality desired, hence a remix, remaster and repress was needed. And now, with shows under 2G again possible, the new formed line up of Norden (out Ratz on Drums, in Alex from Sheep On A Tree)  was able not only to sell the actual record but also take it to the stage.

For the warm up we got a debut: Sparclub took the stage for the first time … and had lost their bass just days prior to the show. But they did not give in and took the stage anyway, i guess it takes a lot of stamina to do so but with some bright smiles they took on the challenge.

Sparclub (Knust, Hamburg, 12.11.2021 (c) gehkacken.de 2021)

Sure the songs where done for Guitar, Bass and Drums and thus lacked something but listening i could sense that they had something: Humor, wit and some wacky ideas like a love song to the Unemployment Office or an instant hit on “Passive Agressiveness”.

I got to admit that the more they played the more i liked it and my friends around also got some bright smiles on their faces. Lets hope they find a new bass and they get another chance, it is worth it. If you want to know how i could have sounded check out their Bandcamp site.

Next Restmensch, who jumped in for Thrashing Pumpguns, who where supposed to give a surprise comeback, but could not. Also for them it was the first show after quite some time and whilst stage hardend their intro into the first song was cut short by … a string of the guitar going. Loads of laughs by the fellow musicians in the audience!

Restmensch (Knust, Hamburg, 12.11.2021 (c) gehkacken.de 2021)

But that did not stop them, they just plowed ahead like a solid machine. They are not necessarily my mu-sick-al thingy but their hardcore leaning Deutsch Punk actually came across well. Speed variations, solid backline from Drums and Bass, for my liking one and the other metalic leaning guitar lick too much but hey, who am i. Check out for yourself… 

They got some cheers and by the looks of it had some fans in attendance. In setting a contrast in-between Sparclub and Norden they worked well, as much as the Metalcorecrossover from Thrashing Pumpguns would have worked.

Restmensch (Knust, Hamburg, 12.11.2021 (c) gehkacken.de 2021)

My silly me only needed to complain about stage attire, i guess only the bass was setup correct. For the rest plenty of advice was traded secretly in the audience, which implies that we had good fun and that only ever happens if a band actually works. And Restmensch not only worked but worked hard on stage.

And that gave way to Norden and their return to the stage. I do not know the full story but their 2nd record had been fully recorded in 2005, following their 2004 debut on Mata Hari, but shelved. And i guess dropped. Only to be recovered during Covid times and, following a remix in 2021, finally put to vinyl.

Whatever the background, the songs sound as fresh as back then and actually deserved to be taken both to vinyl and the stage. And that was done in a very unpretentious way, almost in passing.

Norden (Knust, Hamburg, 12.11.2021 (c) gehkacken.de 2021)

Jan on guitar and doing the main vocals, Natascha towering on bass and Alex behind the drums hammering away. And they create an almost timeless sound that you can not tie to any of the usual styles, i recon it is just simple humble hard pop (like in popular) music with great (and clever) German lyrics (reminder to self: file for patent on the term “Simple Humble Hard Pop (SHHP)“)

I like it, it is both the German lyrics and the driving guitar sound that makes it so worthwhile for me (and looking around in front of the stage, also for others).

Norden (Knust, Hamburg, 12.11.2021 (c) gehkacken.de 2021)

Odd think though that under the conditions (rising infection rate, 2G for musicans, clubs and ticket holders) only around 97 (or maybe 103) good people came out on this rather cold Friday in November. Their return should have at least had 200+ people enjoying it and singing along, which many in the audience did.

What will be next for them? No clue, a tour circuit won’t happen soon so lets hope that the 300 record pressed (and inserted into a cool handmade cover) hopefully sell quickly. Trust me, it is a worthy investment!

Norden (Knust, Hamburg, 12.11.2021 (c) gehkacken.de 2021)

I thoroughly enjoyed it and by the looks the band also did like what they got onto the  stage and out to the audience through the excellent sound in the Knust. Bonus: Also some excellent light was provided, cudos to whoever was accountable for that.

As always, once a band convinces me live, i do catch vinyl on the spot: Tonight not only the “2005 in 2021” 2nd LP (lower left corner) but also the 2004 LP (upper left corner), that was missing in my collection. Bonus: The C.C. Fliegen LP, which is the most recent output from Hake (bare song structures and sound scrapes largely).

And from the trusted folks that keep the Punk Rock Hamburg family floating i scored a shirt – almost a perfect weekend shopping!

A great night out, some good music, some new discovers (did i say Sparclub?) and some beers and chats with friends in one of may favorite places. Life, under today’s circumstances, definitely can be much more worse.

Thrashing Pumpguns waren leider verhindert, dafür gab es Restmensch